Hip fractures are a common injury that occurs in older people. Symptoms may include pain around the hip that worsens when attempting to bear weight. Usually, people with a hip fracture cannot walk. Hip fractures often occur as a result of a fall in patients with compromised bone density. In addition to age, risk factors include osteoporosis, long-term use of certain medications such as steroids, high alcohol consumption and cancer. In addition to clinical signs and symptoms, medical imaging such as X-rays are used to assist in the diagnosis.
Depending on the patient’s age, this is most frequently a surgical issue. In some cases, a patient may be too old or not in good enough health to go through the surgery. Because there is a high risk of death in the year following a hip fracture, it is imperative that physical therapy takes on a functional approach to assist patients’ abilities to walk as this is known to play a pivotal role in vitality.
To determine prognosis and to make the most appropriate treatment recommendations, physical therapist assess strength at the hip and knee joint, gait speed and balance to determine the most appropriate assistive device.
Treatments include manual therapy to improve range of motion, strengthening of the muscles around the hip and overall leg muscles, strategies to improve gait quality, balance training to prevent future falls, functional mobility training (i.e., sitting and standing from toilet, ascending/descending stairs, etc.), assistive device (i.e., walker, cane, etc.) training (if needed) and modalities to reduce pain. Further, we will work with you to move towards any individual goal you may have.
- McDonough, Christine M. et al. “Physical Therapy Management of Older Adults With Hip Fracture.” Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Vol. 51, No. 2, 2021, pp. CPG1-CPG81. Journal Of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT), https://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2021.0301.
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